Conference on Chinese Tantra
Dr. Megan Bryson, Assistant Professor of East Asian Religions, recently returned to her research site in China to present a paper at the Third Chinese Tantra International Academic Seminar, held in the Jianchuan area of southwest China’s Yunnan Province from October 19-21. The conference, which included participants from Israel, Japan, Korea, and Nepal as well as China, started with a day-long tour of the region’s important Buddhist sites, including the ninth- to thirteenth-century grottoes at Stone Treasure Mountain (pictured is the ayangbai fertility symbol surrounded by Buddhist figures). The second day ended with a ritual performance by local masters known as azhali (a local transliteration of the Sanskrit acarya, meaning “teacher”). During the conference Dr. Bryson shared her perspective on the region’s distinctive tantric Buddhist tradition and gave her paper, on two of the tantric ritual texts from the region, in Chinese. Afterwards she visited the Buddhist mountain Jizu shan and caught up with old friends in nearby Dali. Dr. Bryson’s trip is one more example of the UT Religious Studies Department’s global reach.